To the Editor:
I'd like to address some of the responses by some of the casting directors interviewed for Ask a Casting Director ("How unethical is it when actors lie on their résumés?," June 12)—specifically, comments such as "Somebody says they're in one of the movies we cast, and we're like, 'We did? We put you in American Pie? You were in Wedding Crashers?' And it turns out they were an extra." I find this offensive.
It's because of responses like this that many do not get a fair shake at auditions. These casting directors feel as though they have a firm grasp on all that goes on out there. To dispel the first part of the comment, I know many actors who have booked parts from a mailing to the production company, director, or producer. They avoided going through the casting director, because they knew they would not get a fair chance.
The second part is easily refuted. Actors who do background work can get upgraded on set. This is necessary if the powers that be on the set feel that the story is advanced by having someone—a background actor, say, or a production assistant—deliver a line or two. Typically in those instances, the casting director is not informed about those changes/additions. And if they are, what is the chance they'll remember this actor down the road? Very little. The actor was not in the casting director's cross hairs; it's the reason why the actor was not called in to audition in the first place.
So for them to say what they're saying is not fair and borders on an abuse of their power as "the gatekeepers." This is both counter-creative and counterproductive. I recommend that before they label everyone they think is a liar, they check and verify their information.
New York City